Mat 6:12 `And forgive us our debts, as also we forgive our debtors.
Mat 18:21 Then Peter having come near to him, said, `Sir, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him--till seven times?'
Mat 18:22 Jesus saith to him, `I do not say to thee till seven times, but till seventy times seven.
I have been thinking a great deal about this and other related passages in the past few weeks, you see, I have been the unfortunate recipient of UN-forgivness.
To make a long story short someone I have mistreated in the past has blasted me with those memories, and not just the memories but the emotions that went with them. It hurt, but the worst hurt is what I saw in what that unforgiveness is doing to that person.
In this episode, I actually did not retaliate which is something I can thank the Lord for as that has not been my pattern before. Not retaliating left me in a position to be able to observe how resentment affects us and why forgivness is such an important part of the Christian walk.
First let me say that as a man and one who didn't start walking with the Lord until fairly late in life I had developed some very bad character defects which included being hyper critical, filled with pride, and self centeredness. Jesus has been slowly working these things out of my life, but like most of us it has been a slow process. So the accusations fired at me were not unfounded and in the past I would have vehemently defended my position and blamed the other person. The other person is not at fault for their anger, but the other person is at fault for their resentment.
Let me clear that up a bit.
When someone offends we have two choices, forgive or not. If we forgive we let go of the anger and as the dictionary says we, "treat the offender as not guilty". If we do not forgive and still have a relationship with that person, we may stuff the feelings until the next time an offense takes place. When that takes place those feeling become a ticking time bomb, as those feelings (now resentments) accumulate.
The truly evil side of resentments is that they live just outside of our consciousness and color our experience with the other person and our world. If resentments are allowed to fester they will blind us to the good the other person is doing for us and to us. They will wait in ambush for the other person to slip up then explode into a rage that is inappropriate for the offense. Even worse those accumulated resentments will begin to seek outlet on other people that have nothing to do with the original offense. In other words someone else may use the tone of voice or the look that the offender had used in his offense and that anger will boil to the surface against the unsuspecting third person. Divorces, cheating spouses, misunderstandings, dissolution of partnerships are often the result of festering resentments.
So what is the solution for one who is "working out their salvation"?
The scriptural answer is simple:
Eph 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
Simple but not easy.
Here is how I deal with it. First I have to realize that the offense may be at least partly my fault. I need to ask questions of my self like, "did I say something or act in a way that was offensive?", " could I have stated or done something different?," what was the state of my mind when the offense took place?". The hardest part of this is being honest with yourself especially in the heat of the moment. Sometimes it is necessary to talk to a third person about the situation trying not to blame or accuse the offender so as not to damage their reputation.
When you see your own fault for the situation, it's time to go to God. Remember He is quick to forgive (1 John 1:9), next is to admit to the offender my part and, only my part, in the offense and ask if there is anything I can do to make up for my part of the offense. This is hard to do because it is natural to want to shift the blame, no one likes to admit guilt.
I know you are asking but what about.......?
There are times when this procedure may be inappropriate, those are rare and could be a subject for a book.
This procedure will prevent you from developing resentments and it is a great procedure for examining and eliminating old resentments that you may have been carrying for years. It also helps us to be more loving to all, even unlovable people.
If you are not familiar with the self examination process, I did write a book on that subject. It's called "The Ten Commandments a Guide to Holiness" and can be downloaded from the Download page of this site or a print or Kindle version ordered from Amazon at:
Jos_23:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside from it to the right hand or to the left;
Good day all.
It has been about three months since I wrote last here and if I have any regular readers I apologize. The reason is because I have been facing some crossroads in my own life. We all face crossroads every day, some simple and some not so simple. The simple ones are easy to navigate and usually have some very obvious road signs, others are not so simple and involve choices where either direction may be the right answer.
One of the big crossroads I have come to is whether or not to continue writing for the Lord. My readership is poor, my books are not selling, I get no encouragement at home, and you folks that do read this don't comment, (except my two good friends Doris and Tom, thank-you). The road signs were obvious, my writing is not making an impact! I am embarrassed to tell you the conversations I have had with the Lord over this issue. They went something like this:
" I want you to write for me son", said the Lord.
" I have to make a living Lord", said I
"Don't worry about that", said He
" I can't be any good, no one reads my stuff" said I
" Don't worry about that either, trust me" said he
On and on and on I would argue, but He patiently kept insisting, so here I am back at the computer and back at the blog. I most likely won't be posting regularly as I have tried to in the past ( I still have to make a living and have family obligations when I am at home) but will do the best I can.
Through this struggle, I had lost some of the Joy I had in the Lord and that was my big fish (like Jonah). It occurred to me that my pride had once again raised it's ugly head , that my motive had become subtly self-centered rather than God centered. At least in this part of my life I was not following God's will. When God places a call on your heart and you buck it, it is nearly always an issue of pride. It was for Jonah and it was for me too.
So what to do about?
Surrender! Give up, turn around, in short repent.
As I have said before, repentance is not a mere mumbling of I am sorry, anyone can be sorry and not really mean it, they are just trying to appease others and think they themselves have done no wrong. As C.S.Lewis says "It takes a good man to repent"
No, repentance is a real crossroad, it's a changing of direction.
Real repentance requires honesty and humility. Repentance requires you to be willing to admit that you played a part in the problem. That's hard because pride says it is the other persons fault, ie I blamed God for my stuff not being read or sold.
Even though our dictionary says that repent is a noun and describes a deep sorrow for wrongs committed, I think of it more as a verb, an action word. Emotions are fickle at best, but an action is a demonstration of what is in your heart. Consider Jesus words:
Mat_15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart.....
"How can I repair the damage done?" needs to be the question. The answers are not always easy but if you wish to experience forgivness and it's accompanying joy, then you do it.
As always, my written words are for Believers in Jesus as the Christ. You can live a moral and good life without Jesus, many do, but to experience the real Joy that God has created us for, the Nirvanah of other traditions, the pleasure that drug users try to duplicate (and fail at) then come to the cross! The door is open! All it requires is a true repentance before God of past wrongs and a belief that Jesus is the Christ, God does the rest and will grant you the Joy and peace that only He can.
If you are a believer and you're not having conversations with God like the one recorded here, there maybe a reason and you should get my book "Yahweh the God Who Speaks and How to Hear Him". My book is very practical and easy to understand. God is speaking to you right now, can you hear Him? You can get it by clicking on the title of the book above or search for books by Leslie Auger on Amazon, Thank-you